Learn why eating at night can get in the way of weight loss, and how to keep that from happening.
Explore how evening snacks can be calorie-controlled and low in sugar and unhealthy fats.
Lark can help you choose healthier snacks and lose weight with personalized coaching.
People say eating at night can lead to weight gain, but what if you’re hungry? The good news is that there are many strategies to avoid excessive hunger at night without overdoing it on calories. Here are some tips to keep evening snacks healthy so you can go to bed without being hungry.
Reducing Evening Hunger
Why are you hungry at night? It’s possible that you did not have enough to eat during the day. Or, you may not have had enough filling nutrients, such as fiber and protein. It’s even possible that what you feel in the evening is thirst, and not hunger.
These tips may help reduce the need to snack at night.
Follow a consistent meal schedule so your body knows when to expect food.
Eat a dinner with low-calorie, high-volume foods, especially vegetables. These can fill you up without getting in the way of weight loss.
Include filling, low-calorie foods throughout the day. Lean proteins and high-fiber foods are usually good choices compared to sugary, fatty, or processed foods.
It is also a good idea to think about whether your evening snack cravings are due to hunger, or to something else, such as boredom or loneliness. If you suspect you are eating for emotional reasons, it’s best to busy yourself or to directly address the emotion or problem in ways other than food. Going for a walk, calling a loved one, and practicing self-care can be all healthier ways to handle emotions than turning to food.
“But I’m Hungry!”
Got it. Sometimes, you really are hungry at night. What can you snack on that won’t keep you up all night and will not get in the way of weight loss?
Generally, evening snacks should be:
Portion and calorie-controlled
Low in sugar, refined starches, and saturated fats
Moderate in high-fiber carbohydrates
It’s also good to leave as much time as possible before bedtime to avoid going to bed on an overly full stomach. That could interfere with sleep or lead to indigestion or heartburn.
What to Eat After 8pm
Snacks might include foods such as whole grains, some fruit, a serving of a reduced-fat dairy product, or a vegetable. A small amount of healthy fat or protein can also be part of a healthy evening snack.
These are some snacks to consider.
Carrots, celery, or other raw vegetables, and 2 tablespoons of hummus
½ cup cooked oatmeal, or 1 packet of plain oatmeal made with unsweetened almond or regular skim milk]
¾ cup of plain yogurt with ½ cup of fresh fruit and/or ½ ounce of almonds or peanuts
5 -10 whole-grain crackers with 1 ounce of low-fat cheese or 1 string cheese stick
½ cup of nonfat cottage cheese with ½ sliced banana
1 small whole-grain tortilla spread with ½ cup of fat-free refried beans
Planning for Evening Snacks
If you are going to have evening snacks regularly, you can plan for them so they don't derail your healthy eating plans. Here are some ways to make evening snacks part of your daily plan.
If you don't like starting the day with breakfast but you like an evening snack, you might try having “breakfast” in the evening. That could be whole-grain toast with peanut butter, whole-grain cereal with milk, or oatmeal with fruit.
If you know an evening snack is coming, consider having a bit less at your lunch or afternoon snack to make up for it.
Log your evening snack when you log the rest of your meals and snacks. That way, you can make sure it fits in with your plan.
Late-night snacks can be nutritious, and they can fit into your weight loss or healthy eating plan. When you log your meals and snacks with Lark, you can get personalized coaching to guide you as you work towards your weight loss and health goals. Lark is available 24/7 to help you.
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